Riot police form barricades outside Thai parliament ahead of anti-government protest

Riot police were this afternoon preparing water cannon trucks for anti-government protests in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday (February 18). Footage shows the officers forming a barricade on the road leading to the Thai parliament, where MPs are debating the position of military leader Prayuth Chan-o-cha. Activists have organised a rally named "Mob Fest" in which they will voice anger at the current establishment. A second rally is also scheduled for Saturday. One of the organisers, student Siraphob Attohi, 22, said the rally will call for a new constitution, Prayut Chan-o-cha’s resignation, and reforms of the monarchy. Military rulers have stepped up their prosecution of anti-establishment protest leaders in recent weeks. On Monday, the Court of Appeals rejected the bail requests submitted by the four suspects - Arnon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, and Patiwat Saraiyam. They will be detained under royal insult charges for their protest on September 19 until a trial date is fixed. A court statement read: 'The actions cause damage to the monarchy, which is widely revered and worshiped. They had no fear of the law and hurt the feelings of loyal subjects in Thailand.' Anti-establishment protests erupted across Thailand towards the end of 2020. Activists are calling for sweeping social reforms including the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a new constitution and reforms to the monarchy, which is the wealthiest in the world and commands vast power within the country.